Engineers Without Borders (UK)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) UK (or EWB-UK) is a UK-based registered charity and NGO, operated primarily by UK-based university students. Its mission is to Facilitate Human Development through Engineering.[1]

EWB-UK is a non-operational charity, in that it does not undertake its own projects, but supports those of other organisations. It maintains links, but currently no formal affiliations with, the other international organisations bearing the name Engineers Without Borders.[2]

Mission & Aims[edit]

EWB-UK's mission is to facilitate human development through engineering.

The aims of EWB-UK are to:

  • educate, and raise the awareness with, students and others about issues in human development;
  • promote research related to, and actively contribute towards, engineering solutions for human development;
  • provide an ongoing supply of competent and knowledgeable professional development workers, and;
  • become a mark of excellence for those looking to become involved with development work.


To achieve its mission and its aims, EWB-UK:

  • trains and educates students and recent graduates in development theory and practice;
  • uses student volunteers and academics to undertake research;
  • uses professional volunteers to support its work;
  • provides suitable students and recent graduates which it sends on placements to partner organisations and developing communities to help fulfil their engineering needs, and;
  • raises funding from ethical sources (see ethical policy).

Outreach programme[edit]

Engineers Without borders runs an outreach programme in which students and young professionals go to schools and youth groups, and runs interactive workshops with the aim of informing and inspiring young people about international development and the role that engineering has to play. EWB works with young people ages 4–18. It runs the following workshops:

Water for the World - a workshop based on how to get clean drinking water and how access to water depends on where one lives. It has a practical session involving building a sand-based water filter and then testing it.

Shelter for the World - a workshop designed to make young people think about the provision of shelter and gets them to design their own shelter from limited resources.

Going the Distance - a workshop based on the provision of infrastructure and how lack of infrastructure can impact on people's lives, it has a practical involving building and testing mini bridges out of sellotape and straws.

Make the Link - this workshop was developed around the provision of energy and energy security and gets young people to build and test mini wind turbines. It was developed in partnership with practical action and has European Commission funding.

Organisation and Structure[edit]

The structure of EWB-UK incorporates a variety of functional units.

  • An independent Board of Trustees which:
    • oversees the operations of EWB-UK, ensuring they are in line with its mission and its aims;
    • appoints the senior management;
    • is ultimately responsible for the operations and policies of EWB-UK;
  • A National Executive consisting of current student volunteers which commits to;
    • overseeing the operations of EWB-UK and providing support to its branches;
    • organising and co-ordinating worthwhile overseas placements with partner organisations, at a suitable technical level for EWB-UK's volunteers;
    • facilitating technical engineering research into development issues at universities;
    • fundraising for EWB-UK projects and activities;
  • University branches which are run by and for students, focusing on:
    • public and student awareness of human development by arranging educating activities such as speaker series, field trips and training courses;
    • promoting and co-ordinating research on relevant topics within university departments;
    • encouraging and assisting students to volunteer for worthwhile overseas placement work under the supervision of partner organisations;
    • arranging social events to encourage involvement and allow students, academics and professionals to meet, and;
    • fundraising activities for the branch and the entire EWB-UK organisation;
  • Partner non-governmental organisations which:
    • use, train and supervise EWB-UK volunteers on overseas and UK based placement projects;
    • suggest topics for research which will meet real needs for developing communities, and;
    • work with EWB-UK for mutual support;
  • A Professional Network run by and made up of qualified professionals who:
    • offer practical support and advice to the other parts of EWB-UK;
    • arrange their own events to further the aims of EWB-UK amongst professionals, and;
    • provide ongoing involvement for those who have graduated;
  • Sponsoring bodies including individual donors and companies which embrace the ideals of EWB-UK and operate under high ethical standards.

EWB-UK is a company limited by guarantee (registered in England and Wales, number 4856607) and a registered charity (registered in England and Wales, number 1101849). Its registered office is Engineers Without Borders UK, c/o The Humanitarian Centre, Fenner's, Gresham Road, Cambridge, CB1 2ES, United Kingdom.


EWB-UK was started by a group of students at Cambridge University in 2001, at the original suggestion of Parker Mitchell (co-founder of EWB Canada) who was then doing an MPhil in Sustainable Development at the university. Sarah Hindle (Engineering undergrad) and Richard Sargeant (Political Science undergrad) were the first directors and recruited and ran the executive.

In 2002, with the help of an initial £10,000 donation from Anglo American, EWB-UK arranged its first overseas placement in Pondicherry, India, with an organisation called ORSED. The first Clare Farm training course also took place. Work began on building research and knowledge sharing capacity.

In the years since, under a number of different directors, the number and variety of training courses, overseas placements (which now amounts to 60 per year) and more recently research projects has grown significantly. The number of branches has now grown to 31.


South East

South West


Midlands and North West


External links[edit]


  1. ^ EWB-UK Website [1]
  2. ^ EWB-UK Website [2]